Can ASEAN Unite On South China Sea?
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Can ASEAN Unite On South China Sea?


The Philippines has fired its first political salvo at China and Cambodia ahead of upcoming regional summits, calling on the 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to forge a united front over the South China Sea dispute.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the ASEAN and East Asia Summit, which is attracting leaders from around the world, Philippine President Benigno Aquino said ASEAN should speak with one voice, particularly given that four ASEAN countries have overlapping territorial claims in the sea.

"We can talk to the other claimants that aren't ASEAN members but since we want to maintain ASEAN's centrality, we must have just one voice in ASEAN,” he said.

China claims virtually the entire South China Sea and Aquino’s comments will almost certainly upset Beijing, which wants to deal with each of its disputed claims with ASEAN members on a bilateral basis. The Spratly Islands, located in the disputed territory, are also claimed in full or in part by The Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

China, Vietnam and Taiwan also have conflicting claims over the Paracel Islands.

Cambodia will also be angered by Aquino’s statement. As chair of ASEAN this year, it has sought to find an agreement on the Code of Conduct for dispute resolution in the South China Sea, known as the East Sea in Vietnam and the West Philippine Sea in the Philippines.

The government of Prime Minister Hun Sen has benefited enormously from Chinese largesse in recent years and, consequently, has emerged as a key ally in Beijing’s strategy of forcing ASEAN members to deal with Spratly Islands disputes on a bilateral basis. China has refused to refer the matter to an international arbitrator.

Cambodia’s actions resulted in ASEAN failing to release a joint communiqué at the end of this year’s ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in July, the first time in ASEAN’s 45 year history in which a joint message failed to be issued. The Philippines and Vietnam had wanted this spring’s confrontation at Scarborough Shoal included, but Cambodia, at China’s behest, balked, leading to charges that Phnom Penh was putting China ahead of the ASEAN bloc.

Whether or not there is a repeat of the July debacle at next week’s summit, which leaders like U.S. President Barack Obama, China’s Premier Wen Jiabao, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will attend, remains to be seen.

There is some speculation in Phnom Penh that a joint communiqué for the summit is currently being negotiated, with the hope that it will be ready to sign by end of the heads of state meeting next week.

To build goodwill ahead of the summits, for instance, on Friday Indonesia proposed that ASEAN and China establish emergency lines of communication to prevent South China Sea crises from turning violent. An agreement such as this might allow the parties involved to issue a joint communiqué next week.

But given Manila and Beijing’s respective stances, any agreement on the Code of Conduct could be some time off.

February 10, 2013 at 11:21

And then there's China.

China: 92% Chinese, GDP per capita $6,000


Your claims are as absurd as the rest of your warmongering on this site.

December 5, 2012 at 14:29

I still don't get why people are so surprised when China started showing aggression against it neighbors. This is just history repeating itself. Take a look at china's history, every single freaking dynasties.

November 27, 2012 at 16:40

Let him play his game Cyrus, it just shows the world what an idiot he is.
Even I know, you don't piss off a Filipino as ooh, they have temper. LOL
I said it in 1999 and I will say it again, two jet planes with bombs and the shoals are useless.

November 27, 2012 at 16:37

Show me the links or references for that information.
Its not what you want to hear, but until recently China was not the begin all and end all of Asia.
Its not even that today, but you are a PR ignoramus, so sell it sister, sell it.

November 27, 2012 at 16:33

Liang1a wrote: "Huangyan Island"  for Scarborough shoal.
A shoal, sandbar (or just bar in context), sandbank or gravelbar is a somewhat linear landform within or extending into a body of water, typically composed of sand, silt or small pebbles.
Then he wrote that it allows China to make a claim of 200 nm.
Obviously, he is ignorant, so ignore him.

Vic Tang-a
November 25, 2012 at 18:05

This is the type of thinking that will make China further isolate itself to the people around the world.  The kind of Tyrant thinking that by squeezing the weak they could furhter mishanded the situation, manipulate the outcome to be always a one way street.  It is a very dangerous thinking, very proud, very arrogant.  It's like " What is mine is mine, what is yours is mine, you have a complaint, what can will you do about it?  This is the reason why a mediator is needed so that facts are discussed and rules are followed with respect not intimidation.

Vic Tang-a
November 25, 2012 at 17:52

That is funny, it only proves that even the Chinese people arew moving away from China to set up business else where. 

November 23, 2012 at 06:31

You might have seem to forget the battle of Yultong wherein the Filipino's kept on holding the line even if it was futile since the rest of the UN have retreated already. Since, there was no command for them to retreat the Filipino held the line of those that retreated with cooks and the wounded. 

Really says a lot on how well the Chinese fight. I would not think that battle was all talk and no action and since the Chinese and Filipino's have never fought a battle save the Korean War then that example would have to suffice.

November 22, 2012 at 09:38

Leonard R.
November 17, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I can't imagine how a joint communique could help resolve the Scarborough Shoal issue.
It is inside Manila's EEZ. Case closed. Let Beijing take it to UNCLOS or take it to war.

Manila needs to request assistance from the US under the MDT for that shoal. That will bring clarity to the issue.
Huangyan Island is China's sovereign territory.  Therefore, China owns 200 nm of EEZ around it.  Anybody who still think the US will fight China is simply ignorant.  In any case, I'd like to see what will happen if the US went to war against China.  The most likely result is the sinking of all US surface ships including the aircraft carriers within 1,500 km of China's shores including the entire S. China Sea within the first hour.  Then there will be a long drawn out fight against the submarines.  Chinese fighters will knock down all American F-15 and F-16.  The much ballyhooed F-22 are all grounded and more dangerous to themselves than to Chinese fighters.
You people are 20 years out of date about China's military power.  Wake up and smell the reality!  Especially with Hu and Wen out of the picture, China will now be more truly assertive under Xi.  And all the bitching and groaning by the Japnese and the Filipinos are not going to make any difference.  You people just make yourselves more irrelevant by the day.  You're economically bankrupt, militarily defunct, and morally corrupt!
First you had the Libyan attack; now you have Gaza.  Syria is burning up.  And Iran is getting stronger and more defiant.  You think you are in any shape to take on China?  Don't make me laugh at your pretence that you're still the strong man.  Actually you never were all that strong.  You got nose punched in Korea and your behind kicked in Vietnam.  All you can do is beat up little incompetent countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.


November 22, 2012 at 08:09

the CCP banned our banana exports, made trade harder for the philippines, stopped sending tourists here…. but the chinese people should wake up… we're not like Japan that'll fold up….. Filipinos are a hardy bunch… we're used to economic hardships, we're used to making do. after all the chinese economic sanctions and pressures imposed by china on the Philippines – we're still here, and we're still going for that 6 % GDP growth this year.
If China didn't buy Filipino bananas you're not going to sell them to anybody else.  Your banana will simply rot or be eaten by rats.  Of course Filipinos are used to economic hardship because that's all you've ever had and continue to have unless you have Chinese help.  And if you're going to achieve 6% GDP growth this year it will only be done with Chinese investment because obviously no Japnese or Americans have the money to invest.  Furthermore, Japnese and American "investments" are only there to exploit your cheap labor and take away your wealth.  Only the Chinese investors stay in Philippines and build up your domestic economy to generate more wealth that will "stay" in Philippines. 
Obviously, people like you who hate Chinese will deny the benefits of the Chinese.  But honest Filipinos who want to get richer know you're the ones who are hurting them and keep them poor by antagonizing the Chinese.  But in the end, China will develop a $100 trillion economy.  And none of it depends on investment or trade with Philippines.  Philippines can rot and it won't matter to China at all.  So antagonize China at your own peril.  You insignificant little man.

November 22, 2012 at 07:58

The richest countries in SE Asia are:
Singapore: 80% Chinese $50,000 per capita GDP
Malaysia: 25% Chinese $11,000 per capita GDP
Thailand: 15% Chinese $5,400 per capita GDP
Vietnam: 0% Chinese $1,500 per capita GDP
Philippines: 2% Chinese $2,300 per capita GDP
Indonesia: 3.5% Chionese $3,500 per capita GDP
It is obvious from the above data taken from Wiki that there is a direct correlation between the percentage of Chinese in the population and the wealth of the country.  Vietnam has no Chinese to speak of and it is the sick man of ASEAN.  Philippines has more Chinese at 2% of its population and its GDP is significantly higher.  Indonesia has more Chinese than Philippines by some 50% and its per capita GDP is also some 50% higher than the Filipino per capita GDP. 
The highest per capita GDP is in Singapore with 80% ethnic Chinese.  Therefore, the trend is obvious.  Philippines and Vietnam are the two sickest men in ASEAN.  And without Chinese to raise their wealth will surely continue to be sick.

November 22, 2012 at 07:38

ASEAN was created in 1967 during the height of Vietnam War.  It was created to suppress China.

November 21, 2012 at 19:40

The Western concept of “divide andconquer” from the colonial days is not viable. Bye bye Western aggression; welcome, economic recovery

ASEAN didn’t came up joint communique to protect their interest against aggressiveness of China because Cambodia push China’s interest to give the favor back for aids gave to them and to ensure ot will sustain for long time. And until now Cambodia still doing the same telling that ASEANS should talk about human rights and economic development moving away what is the real concern about and that is China. Cambodia trying to put blinds on each eyes of members of ASEAN for them not to see real situation is happening on their region. This what actaully happens in ASEAN is a very strong proof that China dividing them to make them weaker to pave way the imperialistic approach not just to southeast asian countries but also those neighbor countries.

November 21, 2012 at 18:25

I strong disagree on your statements
1. Philippines doesn’t want the US to fight for them for free. They have resources that can use in terms of protecting their territory within EEZ and even in times of warfare but these are not enough to fend off bully China so they BUY to US some miltary resources to able to defend with enough capability to match with the enemy’s(China)and I believe Philippines action is very reasonable.

2. Philippines is not aggressive in ASEAN. For what purpose anyway? They can uplift the issues which is essential to safeguard their interest in the region which I believe this is the right opportunity to tackle about the China’s aggression in SCS and grabbing other’s territories among southeast asian countries by means falsification of evidences and history to justify their claims.

3. Even China discard all the aids in Philippines it won’t significantly affect on their economy. And US the one who decide which country they would like to give aid not you or your PLA.

Vic tang-a
November 21, 2012 at 16:52

Your concept of aid is really ridiculous, threatening to pull out aid by China, will only put China in the bad light further.  Your concept of free is distorted, the US already indicated that they are neutral and are concern on open lanes on the sea. 
The Philippines is asking for US to mediate to make the discussion equal.  

Vic tang-a
November 21, 2012 at 16:38

Maybe it is time to take the Filipino leadership seriously.  Why do you think China is pushing real hard to have the nine dash line?  Because of profit of course.  It is funny the Chinese is using the EEZ on their disputes with the Senkaku Island.  The Filipinos may not have the arms and the sophisticated jets and equipment that China has, but they will fight in other ways. 
Trait of a bully taking countries that are weak.   Your concept of  Divide and conquer for the Western Powers is more applicable to China, as they do not want agree on a multilateral ASEAN front only Bilateral talk, knowing that they will have a better end of the stick.
Remember Juan Tamad also has a brother Juan Masipag. 

Leonard R.
November 21, 2012 at 15:16

@John X:
The answer is that China does not recognize other nations' EEZ's.  See article here:
"Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Tuesday that the Huangyan Island is an integral part of China's territory, and its sovereignty is indisputable."
This demonstrates that agreements sgned by Beijing agreements are worthless. So don't make agreements with China.
It signed UNCLOS. Now it's violating UNCLOS. What you see is what you get.

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